Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Indiana Holds off Illini Rally 82-77

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Indiana Holds off Illini Rally 82-77

Article excerpt

The world won't know if Bob Knight agreed with Lou Henson's strategy to play out Tuesday night's game to the finish.

That's because General Knight, coach of the Indiana Hoosiers, wouldn't grace the media with his presence for the umpteenth time this season.

After Indiana posted a scary 82-77 triumph over Illinois, a spokesman for the Hoosiers announced:

"The Indiana coach and players will not be available" for postgame interviews.

What a surprise! Knight has blown off the press after two-thirds of the games this season, according to regulars on the Indiana beat.

So the question he won't get to answer is this:

Should Illinois have yanked its starters with 10 minutes 24 seconds left in the game after Indiana had outscored the Illini 27-8 in the second half and opened a 19-point lead?

"That's a very good question, but I'm not going to comment on it," Henson said, not wanting to fan the flames for another controversy with Knight.

On Sunday at Minnesota, Knight threw in the towel early and his team lost 106-56, the worst Indiana loss in 89 years. The five players who started Tuesday night's game played a combined total of only seven minutes in the second half Sunday.

"They should be well-rested," Henson said before the game. "We had a ballgame (on Sunday)."

While Indiana rested, the Illini put up a game effort in a victory over Wisconsin. Knight has been criticized roundly for his coaching tactics in the Minnesota game.

But back to Tuesday night's game. The first half was close, with the Hoosiers holding a 36-32 lead. They then caught fire at the start of the second half, hitting their first four shots, and opened a quick 10-point lead. The Illini defense then broke down, and the Hoosiers started penetrating the lane for layups.

"They moved the ball well, they penetrated and they rebounded well," Henson said. "But defensively, that might have been the poorest exhibition I've seen. You learn in elementary school to stay behind your man, but for some reason we didn't do it. …

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